3 Rules of Engagement with Other People's Kids

3 Rules of Engagement with Other People’s Kids

3 Rules of Engagement with Other People's Kids

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By Gizelle Arriola of Dearest Mommy

As a parent, I try to always be respectful to other people’s children. Actually, I was like this before I was a parent. I think I’m just more aware of it now.

Once you have your own children, it quickly becomes apparent what is and what isn’t an appropriate reaction to other people’s kids. Every once in a while, you meet someone who just doesn’t care, and when you do, it completely shocks you.

Recently I have had the “pleasure” of being around such a person. I thought to myself, “I can’t be the only parent out there dealing with a person like this.” Especially if you’re in a situation like I was and were trying to be diplomatic about the whole thing so as not to upset anyone else, like a friend or family member of the person.

A few weeks back, my husband and I took our kids over to a friendly get-together, which we attend once in awhile. At these get-togethers there are other kids running around, playing with our kids while all the parents get a chance to catch up. A good time is had by all.


Lately it feels like one of the adults has singled out my youngest child and deemed her a brat. Now, for the most part, my four-year-old was pretty well behaved. She is, however, still a small child, and it goes without saying that she also acts like a small child.

Crazy, I know.

This person heard me ask my child to stop running and took it upon themselves to yell at my child over and her dad and me telling her to stop running. I should point out that she wasn’t the only one running, but she was the only one who was singled out.

This has happend on more then one occasion. With this same person and my youngest child. Let me tell you, hearing another person raise their voice at your child is not only shocking, but it’s also humiliating for my child and me.

Afterwards I thought back on the situation and how I could have politely schooled this person on how to deal with another’s child.

Rules of engagement when dealing with my or anyone else’s child:

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1. If my child is breaking some rule, it’s my job as the parent to handle it. Please don’t take it upon yourself to raise your voice at my child (honestly, if it would have been a teacher, they would of lost their job; just saying). I prefer to be the only one yelling at my kids, and usually that only happens after they have slowly driven me crazy all day and when we are well away from prying eyes.

2. If you feel my child needs to be reprimanded, please come and tell me, the parent, and I will take it from there. As parents, our job is to protect our children. Having another person who really doesn’t know my child raise their voice at them tends to bring the mama bear out in me no matter who you are.

3. Please don’t call any child a liar (PERIOD). Even if you think my child is lying about the toy she brought (another example of this person taking it upon themselves to discipline my child without consulting me first.) If it’s not your child or it has nothing to do with your child, please stay out of it.

Really, it’s not like I wanted the damn toy in the first place, but if she’s that adamant  that she brought it (it did look familiar), and if it is hers, she has the right to take it home.

(Just for the record, it was later proven by an eye witness that she did bring the stupid 50¢ purple dinosaur in question with her. Believe me, I would much rather leave it there so as to slowly thin out the toy collection. It just so happens on this night my sweet little angel knew exactly what she brought with her and was going to have a major blow out if she didn’t leave with it.

So there it is: three simple rules of engagement when it comes to avoiding conflict with other people’s kids. Honestly, I don’t even like yelling at my own kids, let alone yelling at someone else’s. My hands are full enough already, and unless the other kids are hurting themselves or someone else, I’m just going to keep on walking.

Who’s with me?


About Gizelle Arriola

Gizelle Arriola is a mother of a wonderfully chaotic blended family with two wildly funny and equally crazy little girls who always keep her on her toes and her extremely talented stepson who is on a scholarship for music at S.F.S.U. She enjoys reading, poker and long walks on the beach as well as blogging about her life and the joys of motherhood (not necessarily in that order), and whenever possible, she takes her handsome and at-times impossible husband along for the ride. Look for her on her Facebook page, Dearest Mommy and on her blog